Sunday, March 31, 2013

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Update: the Holi Hai festival in Jersey City came with a steep entrance fee of $50. Therefore, I did a walk around the perimeter at 12:30 and left. So no stories to tell. From the photos I've seen, it doesn't look like it was worth the ticket price.

It's Easter Sunday. I'm transported back to the days in believing that the Easter Bunny would pay a visit, leaving a basket with eggs and chocolate things and jelly beans. Beautiful Easter dresses and new patent leather shoes. Church with the family (Dad would go with us on occasion, and Easter was one occasion). Counting contents and comparing gifts with my sister, Julie.

While Christmas has it's own magical allure, Easter brings with it promise of sunnier days, birds and blooming flowers. It smells better outside, the days are longer. It signals hope.

In my present life, I joke that the bunny can't pay a visit because of my kitties. When I was a EB believer, I used to ask my mom if the bunny would come or would Maggie and Jiggs (the cats of my youth) scare him away. She assured me he had special powers and wasn't afraid.

Yesterday, I called home to ask my dad a question about my taxes. Immediately I could tell that something was wrong. My mom, he explained, fell in the restaurant on Friday evening. Paramedics called, she refused to ride to the hospital despite bleeding from the head. The restaurant is one they have frequented for over 40 years on Friday evenings. This Friday, this "Good Friday," not so good.

Saturday morning comes around and dad realizes she is likely suffering a broken arm. So paramedics are called to the house, mom goes to the hospital. I caught my dad as he was heading out to join her at Howard County General. Call Laura? No. Nothing to tell her until we get home and there is a conclusion to the whole story. And this is what my days are about. Wondering, worrying if they are okay. Is the phone unanswered because they just can't get there quickly enough, or is there something wrong? I can never be sure.

While I am aware that the fall would have happened no matter where I live, I do believe my father would be more communicative with me if I lived closer. So today, rather that waking up with the wonderful anticipation of "where's my basket," I'm saddened to think that my mom is spending the day in pain and I'm not close by.

I do have a lot of good memories of Easter mornings. One year, the bunny brought for me red patent leather shoes and another pair of yellow patent leather shoes. They were hidden behind the couch. Another year, my basket was tucked away in the dryer. I was almost in tears because it was, well, the last place I looked.

I'm not sure where my hope lies these days. Back then, I had hope for a bright future. Things seemed so clear. Now, it's all a bit murky. I am grateful that today I've my 5 Squeedunk Cats. Kitties will always be the greatest gift from my mother. She taught me how to take care of them, and how to love them, and how to interpret what they are saying. She encouraged me to help those needing my help. She sent money every month for years to her favorite cat charity groups and it's my belief that if she weren't hampered by other issues, she would have been driving around at night looking for those banished to the streets. Maybe this is where my hope lives: by working to save feline lives, I'm continuing her desire to make a difference. To end the suffering. To bring the promise for a better day.

So today, I give thanks for all that she did for my sister and me growing up. No one can approach making days as beautiful as she did, and I have to make sure she knows that my memories are vivid and long lasting.

Me, Easter most likely in 1968. This was not my main Easter basket. Check out the white patent leather shoes. I was three, please don't point out that it was pre-Memorial day. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Night Fever

I can remember the days when Saturday night was an exciting proposition.
"What are you doing Saturday night?" The biggest night of the week.

Then, of course, there was the year, 8th grade for me, when Saturday Night Fever was the album to have, and to play, over and over again.

Nowadays, I don't think about Saturday night until Saturday morning. And by then it's too late to do anything about it.

Thank you father, for I have sinned.

Spring has sprung. And it's time to do a few things: start working out again, spring cleaning, making plans to enjoy this wonderful city that I love...

Today: Holi Hai, the Indian Festival of Colors. Right here in Jersey City....
Perhaps a work out prior to?

Check back to see if I made that happen...

You should be dancin' yea...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Two Tuxedo Tuesdays

It's a typical Tuesday in the warehouse apartment.

Two tuxedo kitties, curled up near me as I work on my Excel spreadsheets and endless emails for my current project.

This I think is a good theme: Two Tuxedo Tuesdays. They'll have a lot to share with the blogosphere.
After all, they were born within a few months of each other. Although they look like sisters, they are not related. Doesn't keep me from referring to them as sisters. Adopted sisters.

A Few Words from The Tuxedos
Valentina and Mama, July 2011

Hi everyone, I'm Valentina Rosa. Mama Laura named me after the Italian designer, Valentino Garavani and his signature red color, Rosso Valentino. I'm full of personality, I love everyone and act as the social director of the warehouse apartment.

Mama Laura says that she almost didn't get me (what?) because she didn't know how Coco would react. She loved me, almost right away. And how could she refuse? I was totally adorable.

Does it get any cuter than THAT? 

Anyway, I've got a lot of stories I can tell. Seems like Tuesday will be my day to give you readers the scoop on life as I see it. So come back next week!

Manhattan Bay checking in for Tuxedo Tuesday. I was born under the warehouse where I now live, and Mama Laura fed me and a few of my kitty colony friends for several months until one day, she and Miss Natalie noticed I was missing. It's a long story, but I was in bad shape.

The colony I was living with decided that since I was the baby, they would turn me over as food for a rat or a possum who was sharing space with us in the underbelly of the building. They wouldn't let me come outside to eat, and slowly I was dying because not only was I hungry, but I had been attacked numerous times. Miss Natalie tried to catch me but I wouldn't come to her. I just sat and talked to her. Then Mama Laura showed up and they brought a cage and put anchovies inside it. Took awhile but I finally went for the anchovies and next thing I knew I was upside down and heard the cage slam. Aunt Natalie had to kick it over to get me all the way in so I couldn't get out.

I spent two weeks in the hospital, at 7 months old. I had surgery on the big bite wound that went all the way through my body, and then spay surgery. By the time I came home, I was allowing people to pet me but I hid in the box spring a lot.

Now, I'm much more social although it can take me awhile to warm up to a new person. What no one else but me seems to understand is that we are not alone in the warehouse apartment. No, we are not. There are spirits that live here too. I commune with them. There's one inside the closet, and there's another in the kitchen fan. I seem to be the only one friendly enough to engage them in any kind of discussion. They are harmless. Sometimes they cast light that dances around and I love to chase after the shadows.

Check us again next week.

V and M


Saturday, March 23, 2013



We have to promote Glogirly's new design page. It's fantastic, just like Glogirly herself.

If *we* had opposable thumbs. we'd be blogging, tweeting and posting to YouTube. But, that's up to Top Cat Laura, and she's been "busy" traveling.


Stay tuned. Now that we've been through a full makeover, we'll be posting more frequently.

Thanks, Debbie!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

Life changes in the instant.
In the ordinary instant.
~Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

I read an excerpt of this book in The New York Times before it came out in 2005. It's a beautifully written story about the author's first year after the sudden death of her husband, also an author. I could relate to so many of her thought patterns, her images, her descriptions of grief.

Her words often come back to mind randomly. Recently, it's the quote listed above that has danced through my head in some sort of successive wave. 

There was the matter-of-fact email I received from Samantha saying, "I have Stage 2 Invasive Breast Cancer." The words jumped from the screen, hit me between the eyes and bounced to the floor. What the...I just saw you a month ago. You have what???

And then, days before she was scheduled for her double mastectomy, Robert calls because he is experiencing his third mega-anxiety attack in a week. Turns out his mega-anxiety attacks were really heart attacks. HEART ATTACKS, people.

He went from a Saturday doctor office visit with an EKG, to the ER on Monday (51rst Birthday no less), to admission that evening. More tests on Tuesday, heart cath Wednesday, and ended the week with a double bypass on Friday.

While we can all say things like "it's routine," "he'll be fine," and "my friend/cousin/dad/sister had one last year," it all changes shape when it's happening to YOU. When it's your chest they crack open, your heart they stop, your lungs they collapse, or your breasts they remove. At that point, there's little comfort in the observations, reasons or even endorsements others offer.

These events brought home again the ever present notion that time is ticking. Ticking away for me, as Styx once sang...

My normal bend on people is that they suck. I mean in all candor, it's my prevailing opinion. I see too much of the bad in human nature. These times are pivotal in reminding me that not all people suck, or maybe better put, not all people suck all the time.

The support I witnessed for Robert brought it home. I believe (even though he doesn't) he is the heart of our restored warehouse apartment complex. His sculpture adorns the front of 150 Bay. His paintings currently hang in the lobby. He has hosted the best parties in the building's short history as an artist live/work space. So when the word got out that he was in the hospital for tests, everyone--near and far--wanted to know how to help. Where are the dogs? What does he need? Where can I send something? 

It was a testament to what you put out for others will be repaid. The heart of the matter really is, what kind of human are you?

Samantha has said that she too was wrapped in the care and concern of great friends. Given we don't live close by, it was something I could only witness via Facebook and email traffic. Yet I saw it again. Unwavering support and love for a beautiful friend.

At the top and the bottom of all of this, I'm relieved to say that both friends have made it through their surgeries and are on the path to recovery. They are home, they are on track. They are not "better," but they will be...and they survived.

Peace, y'all. And go get those lumps and pains checked. It could save your life.

Robert with Maggie and Stella, Jersey City